Accommodation used to be one of the worst aspects of the University of Portsmouth - but thanks to some serious investment by the university, it's now one of the best.
There are three campuses - the Guildhall campus, where all the university buildings and some halls are. This is in the City Centre. The Langstone campus is at the border of the city and has some halls of residences there (amazing sea views and excellent if you want to bring your own car at uni). Rees and Burrell is the third campus which looks over the Southsea Common and it roughly 15 mins walk from uni. Both halls in this campus are fully catered!
Of the newest halls, Margaret Rule has the largest room sizes, with the other two having the same sized bedrooms. Margaret Rule also has larger windows which means you get more fresh air and light into your room. If you're on the higher floors in any of these halls, expect nice views of the city, and even the sea and coastline! The downside is having to walk further when the fire alarms go off!
Is pretty much equidistant between the City centre (where the shops and supermarkets are) and Guildhall Walk (where the pubs and clubs are). It's slightly further away from the university buildings in the North Zone, but only by about 5 minutes walk.
Is pretty much on Guildhall Walk. Depending on what block and floor you're in, you can get some pretty nice views from your room or kitchen. It's slightly further away from the city centre but closer to the university buildings in the North zone where most of your lectures are likely to be.
There are three blocks D, N and A - each block has it's own lift but only N block has a lift from the ground floor to the top floor (D and A have lifts from the first floor).
The rooms are modern with a large desk and single bed with en-suite, almost identical to those in Margaret Rule and Trafalgar. One draw back to living virtually on Guildhall Walk is that those whose bedrooms look out on to The Guildhall are disturbed by the clock chiming every 15 minutes from 8am through to 10pm. Your right on top of the main strip of bars which is great when stumbling home from a great night out, but when you catch freshers flu/have an early start in the morning it isn't so fun feeling the bass of Astoria until 3 in the morning.
The kitchen sizes vary but can be very large, they usually have four stools at a breakfast bar and four comfy chairs. For flats of six or more there is an extra fridge too.
If you're an art student, then Eldon building is a two minute walk away though. There are two lifts which go from the ground floor all the way to the top floor. There is a Spar directly underneath Trafalgar and the main strip of clubs on Guildhall Walk are a two minute walk away - near enough to be within stumbling distance, yet far enough away to get an easy nights sleep.
The rooms are modern with a large desk and single bed with en-suite, almost identical to those in Margaret Rule and James Watson. The windows are slightly larger and open wider keeping the room cool. The kitchen has a table and chairs as well as four comfy chairs. There are six rooms per flat and they share one normal sized fridge freezer.
Is one of the older halls by the Magistrate Court and the Civic Offices (really close to the city centre, the Guildhall Walk bars and some Uni buildings) - it can be a bit dark inside and rooms can be vary in size, because of the layout of the whole building. The uni is gradually renovating the whole building so some of the floors have brand new furniture and it looks more modern, but it's pot luck which one you get though! Unlike the newer halls, Harry Law is a corridor style hall. The newer halls are self contained flats.
By far the rowdiest hall of 2004/2005. Squeezed in between the law courts and the Civic Centre it has a multi story car park next to it which has been used for football and games of lazer quest after a riotous session. A block has 9 floors and B-E have 4 floors. Residents on the West side have the added option of coating Harry Law in paintball pellets. Residents of A block can see Guildhall from their kitchen windows which provides much entertainment watching the cream of Pompey stagger out of Wetherspoon's at turfing out time. Other entertainment can be provided by flashing your bum at the office workers in the Civic Centre, wolf whistling at voluptuous young ladies out the window and of course paper aeroplanes :D
Is in Southsea and is one of the catered halls. If you hate cooking or don't mind having set times when you can eat, then this is a pretty nice hall. The room sizes are okay (Unless you get a room on the top floor, in which case the room sizes are massive!), the hall itself is pleasant and if you get a view over the sea, count yourself lucky! Shops are a 5 minute walk away to Southsea's main shopping parade (There's a Co-Op and a Tesco Express as well other stores) and you're also closer to Gunwharf Quays, which has bars, restaurants and designer outlet stores.
Is the only one I haven't been in but location wise, it's pretty much the same as Rees Hall. It's a concrete jungle though, and doesn't look overly pretty from the outside, but it is a small hall of residence with a great sense of community. Although it is a mixed sex hall, there are separate male and female bathroom facilities on each floor. Each floor comes with a communal kitchen with appliances suitable for making light snacks and there are also communal TV lounges on the second and third floors - perfect for a cheeky game of FIFA with your mates.
Langstone Student Village Halls
The Langstone Campus is a free 30 minute bus journey away from the Guildhall Campus, with buses generally every 20 minutes until the evening when they become more irregular until the last bus back at 00:10. However, they are cheaper and generally quieter than the city centre options.
Great location if you want to bring your own car with you at university - it is the only campus where you can actually apply for a car park permit.
The Langstone Campus has a bar which regularly holds events for residents. There's a friendly spirit there, and you'll make friends quickly.
Is the only part catered hall on campus (great value for money as you have a meal included in your rent - they do a very generous breakfast! either continental buffet or a man-sized full English breakfast). A collection of different sized buildings with en-suites and very small kitchens due to part-catering for these halls. The Bernard Tower has to-dye-for seaviews if you are lucky to get allocated on one of the top floors rooms. It also overlooks the sports fields as well which means free entertainment when the university sports teams are out there training for Varsity.
Trust has been newly refurbed, but somehow it is still the cheapest halls in Portsmouth. Generally there are 8 bedrooms sharing 2 large bathrooms ( with separate shower rooms, and you also get to have your own basin in your room). Although it is shared bathroom you don't have to worry about cleaning the communal areas or the bathrooms ( they are cleaned by uni staff - therefore you save up some more money by not having to buy cleaning products etc.). The kitchens are amazing!! They are quite large and they also have a really nice sociable corner with comfy colourful sofas. Another nice feature there is that most kitchens got like a small balconette.
This hall has two different wings and it is mainly a self-catered, en suite type of hall with 8 rooms sharing the kitchen/diner. As all other halls in LSV the room sizes are quite big and the kitchen has got like a diner/lounge area - perfect sized to get together with your mates before hitting the town. Even if it's self-catered you can always buy meal tickets at a very good price, if you don't feel like cooking. Also if you are lucky, some of the rooms have their own balconettes which is a really nice feature to have.
75% of students who apply to the University of Portsmouth get a place in Halls of Residences. Due to the rising popularity of Portsmouth, this figure is going down every year. Inevitably, those who don't get a place in halls are going to look for a house..
Should you find yourself in this predicament - don't panic over where to live next year! There are many students in the same position.
The university organises a series of "Secure A Home" events which will take place over weekends or now even during the week in August and September. This is when you have the chance to come down to Portsmouth, meet up with other students in the same position as you and go house hunting together.
It'll be a social weekend where you'll meet lots of other people who are in the same position as yourself and are looking for somewhere to live. The aim is for people to group together with other people who they seem to get on with and then go looking for a place to live together.
Okay - so that's a bit of a scary way to start off uni life.. however when you think of it that fairly similar to halls, as most likely you will be allocated with complete strangers, but the nice thing about the private sector whole thing is that you actually have a choice with whom to live with and with how many people you will be sharing a house with.
Everyone's in the same boat in the beginning and you'll all be helping each other out. Your new housemates are likely to become your closest friends!
Where to live
Southsea is the main student area of Portsmouth, with a mixed residential community. It is within easy reach of the Guildhall Campus and is served by local bus routes. Covering the southern tip of the island, Southsea has a good mixture of student houses, converted flats and bedsits. This area offers all the facilities a student needs: supermarkets, launderettes and banks, as well as a wide range of specialist shops and department stores. Southsea is a seaside resort and it offers plenty of attractions: the beach, two piers and the Southsea Common. This area is the main focus for the majority of nightlife, with a variety of cafe bars, pubs, wine bars, restaurants and nightclubs, with Gunwharf Quays development a short walk or taxi ride away and the vibrant Albert Road area is close to the main student residential areas.
Old Portsmouth is the original historic part of the city. it is a very well kept and quiet area, and accommodation is usually of a good quality. As a result, it is an expensive area and student accommodation is limited.
Fratton is located within easy reach of the Guildhall Campus and offers a variety of housing. With its mix of shared houses and lodgings, Fratton is an ideal alternative for students wishing to live in a quieter area. It is a good shopping area with a supermarket and a variety of local shops. Fratton station is on the main railway line to London with easy connections to the Midlands and West Country.
Milton and Eastney are in the eastern side of the city. The available accommodation is shared houses and lodgings. Amenities are limited to local shops and pubs. A free University bus which links Milton and Eastney with the Guildhall Campus.
About £70-80 per week is the current going rate in Pompey - you should only pay much more than that if your bills are included or you have a really nice house (like me!). Some houses have been refurbished with new carpets, furniture and appliances so keep an eye out for these and check them out! Just bare in mind that if the rent is presented as a 'per week' figure, it won't be calculated in the sense that there are 4 weeks in a month.
If you're in the first year and in halls, you should probably think about looking for a house around March-April. Some may say that you should start house-hunting as early as possible, but my advice would be to wait a little longer as you never know what happens in the long run and you don't wanna be legally bound by a contract for a house you won't enjoy living in (PS: There are more student houses in the area than the demand for them so you'll always be able to sort out your accommo, even if you leave it last minute).
Its up to you if you want to use the university private sector website, StudentPad (www.portsmouthstudentpad.co.uk) but I suggest starting with it as they are slightly cheaper and same spec with the ones let by letting agencies. If you do decide to go out to Letting agencies be warned you may have to pay extra fees and charges which are non-refundable (if you are not sure, you can always go to the Student Housing Department and ask for a little bit of advice or check your contract)
The Benefit of going with the Uni list is that they are all checked by the University and have to comply with certain standards, e.g. carbon monoxide detectors, internet connection provided etc etc.
The benefit of going with an agency is that you know sooner where you're going to live - I think most would rather have the weight of a University behind them with a landlord than some random agency.